A good investment return

'Character Strengths Interventions: A Field Guide for Practitioners' by R.M. Niemiec (Hogrefe; Pb £40.32)

The application of positive psychology and strengths is growing in organisations, education and in the clinical setting. But the published literature supporting that and offering guidance has been trailing. This book is therefore a really valuable and welcome resource to go some way towards filling that gap.

The VIA Survey has been around for a number of years now and is one of the few academically sound strengths diagnostics that is available at no charge. This book acts as a ‘handbook’ to understanding the theoretical model, the strengths themselves, and contains descriptions of 70 research-based interventions – quite a lot of return for your investment in the book.

It is extremely well written and, more importantly for me, strikes a perfect balance between academic rigour and practical guidance. It is very accessible, but still provides a robust explanation and discussion of the strengths approach. The suggested interventions provide a treasure trove of exercises to apply with yourself and with others if you have a role as a coach or development practitioner.

The only gap for me that there is little attention paid to using strengths with teams. In my work I have found great value in using strengths as a way to help people get out of their ‘roles’ and think more broadly about how they can bring their best selves to contribute and add value to the whole. But this is a minor gap in what is an excellent contribution to the field.

- Reviewed by Emily Hutchinson, Director of ejh consulting and Associate Editor (Books)

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